On Sunday night I went to the screening of Amy Oden’s women in punk documentary From the Back of the Room. Filmed mainly in DC, it looks back over three decades and provides a really comprehensive account of a female-led DIY punk scene which existed prior and separately to the Riot Grrrl movement.
Oden has collected voices from many individuals including Chris Boarts-Larson of Slug and Lettuce, Slade from Tribe 8, Witch Hunt, Leora from Thulsa Doom and loads more who all offer their own take on the scene as well as exploring issues of motherhood, violence, race, gender, sexuality, class and activism.
There are interviews with over 30 women – Kathleen Hanna and Allison Woolfe make an appearance – but the film shines a light on hardcore bands like Tribe 8 and Witch Hunt who played an integral role in paving the way for women to claim their own space and to co-exist within a male-dominated punk sphere.
From the Back of the Room considers the socio-political agenda of DIY punk feminism, looking back at archival footage and establishing some historical context, always with the underlying message of social change. It’s a reminder that Riot Grrrl wasn’t the definitive outlet for punk feminism and delves deep into a really fertile scene which is not documented enough. Inspiring, revelatory and thought-provoking!
You can watch the trailer here – http://www.fromthebackoftheroom.com/thefilm.htm